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Accessible Dispatch, wheelchair taxi service in New York City, expands services

Wheelchair users living in areas districts outside New York City can look forward to convenient and hassle-free travel. They can now easily access wheelchair-accessible taxis with the City expanding its Accessible Dispatch program.

Until expansion in January 2018, the service, which allows users to call, text or book the service online, was available only in Manhattan. By expanding the service, the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (NYC TLC) wants to offer people in wheelchairs and motorized scooters greater and more equitable access to transportation.

People with disabilities face many daunting transportation obstacles in getting to work, shopping, seeing friends - just everyday living - and our city suffers for it both economically and on an equity basis. This new citywide program is there to remove some of those obstacles and make a real difference in some people's lives.. - Meera Joshi, Former Commissioner, New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission

With the service now in place, people with disabilities in all five boroughs/districts of New York City can access the city like never before. Robert Acevedo, who has a mobility disability and is bipolar, says he can now make appointments more easily.

"I need to travel for personal events, like go to the airport and for advocacy needs. With the Accessible Dispatch service, it is easier to make appointments, says Robert. "I am now able to make last minute appointments and have an additional option for transportation in case of an emergency.

The Accessible Dispatch program was launched in September 2012 as a 24/7 program, with the goal of connecting New Yorkers who use wheelchairs and other mobility aids to accessible taxis at no extra cost.

Jean Ryan, a resident of Brooklyn, and Vice President, Public Affairs of Disabled In Action, uses the service frequently and says it has made a world of difference. Jean recalled a medical emergency when she needed to get to the hospital quickly but could not find accessible transportation services. "It's wonderful that citywide accessible dispatch is now available so we can get rides in the outer boroughs, too. Hopefully in the future, all cabs and for-hire vehicles will be wheelchair accessible to really achieve equal access for all.

Thanks to the Accessible Dispatch service Linda Fisher, is able to take her mother Beth Bederman out more. Her mother is a wheelchair user and has dementia.

"We like to go on outings to restaurants and see shows at the library. We used the service to attend the funeral of my mother's sister. We were able to attend a graveside service thanks to the gracious driver who agreed to drive into the cemetery and wait for us while my mother was able to attend the service for her sister Having the service available to us means we can make plans with more flexibility and not be restricted as to timing.

At the time of launch, there were 233 accessible yellow cabs. Today, there are more than 2,800 wheelchair-accessible yellow cabs.

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